The wisteria is almost gone at the front of the house. But in the back café/piazza area…(dodgy bit of mossy brick tiles with a table and chairs), there are 3 more doing their thing. One has the longest boughs of flowers (boughs or stems?), about a metre in length. The others are shorter but the colours are wonderful. Pale lavender, pale blue and pale pink.
The roses are nearly out. The irises are in full bloom. My new hostas have taken to their shady home and are thriving. I have 3000 poppy seedlings, give or take a few. Last summer I acquired a seed pod from a garden I was passing in Cornwall, (anyone else out there a collector of seeds and cuttings….acquired by stealth?). Like a little pepper pot I shook the seeds over a well prepared bed expecting to be disappointed. Now there are so many of the buggers I have been palming them off to anyone who is interested.
My day usually starts with a walk around the garden, just looking and listening and smelling. It is grounding (lol). It focuses my mind. It is an escape. Sometimes I ask the WC to join me. The animals often do. The sound of bees is thrilling. There are so many. There are many hovering insects. There have been a few butterflies. Aphids abound but the most noxious chemical I allow on the garden is Fairy liquid…I found a devils coach-horse beetle the other morning and when it felt my presence it flicked its rear end up in warning. I suspected it might spray me and backed off. Apparently Irish folklore has it that it raises its tail to cast a curse….
The garden soothes. Living with Eve has its challenges. Lord knows she would say the same about me. But her memory seems to be fixed in a time span between her childhood and the early 90s. We hear the same stories day in and out. If anything happens, or is said, we go somewhere or people drop in, it triggers another tale. She does not seem to engage unless it is to connect the current event to her past experience.
Today, to celebrate the end of the course and submitting the dreaded essays, we went to the Towner Art Gallery. They have a collection of Ravilious works. An artist I like, along with Eric Slater and others who used wood block as a medium. Eve loves a gallery. She is happy to wander and look and take it all in. Must go to more.
It is a month since my mother arrived. She is tiny, just a little bony frame when I hug her. She is grieving and she is very forgetful. I have wondered of late is the forgetfulness and sort of helpless bewilderment we see some days is a defence mechanism, because the world is big and scary and different now, or is her brain really struggling.
She claims she was hijacked by my siblings and brought to England without her prior knowledge. That my two sisters swooped down on her, packed up her house and flew her to Singapore to my brother and his family. She claims she thought she was going to stay there, but also says she declined the invitation to stay longer. She says she did not know that she was coming to England and certainly not to me. She loves the dog and cat and the WC. She laughs a lot sometimes and is always keen to get out and see and do things.
But yesterday when I showed her again how to use the washing machine I asked if she was aware of her forgetfulness. She cried. She says that something is wrong and that she has a terrible load that she cannot rid herself of. I think it is grief for my father and grief for herself. She hated the lonely isolated life she had and in the year since he died it became more lonely. She spent days on end not seeing a soul. I think she is suffering from a type of trauma. It is heartbreaking.
She talks about moving out and finding her own place to live. It is early days yet we say. I am hoping that the same thing happens to her as did to my beautiful Em. A few months of being safe with no expectations and she may just start to feel stronger and more herself.
I took the WC out for a meal, on me, tonight. The man is exhausted. He has worked long and hard getting the house done and, oh my days, has it fallen into place this week.
First he stripped back the floor in the living room and varnished it. We had no idea the wood was such a lovely colour. It was very dark before. The sofas arrived. Two nights before delivery I was up in the wee hours measuring out the space for them, worried that they would not fit. When he got wind of my anxiety, he got up too and we worked it out together. (Bear in mind we always knew that they WOULD fit, I just had one of those moments where I imagined some burly blokes trying to wedge a fat sofa through a small door and getting stuck).
Then lots of flooring arrived. So worn out was I after a night shift, I slept through all the sawing and banging going on in the next room while the WC put down the bathroom floor.
After work today I got home to a house buzzing, literally, sawing in the kitchen, floors being laid in the hall and study and the WC, with a blob of paint on his nose who had managed in half a day to install the bath and the new loo upstairs.
There are lots of smaller bits to complete and many things to be put back in place, but suddenly the shell feels like a happy place and we have both said that we just want to live in it now and enjoy it.
In 6 days, the Australian mob arrive. I think the WC has done an amazing job.
Very excited to be catching up with a dear friend later today. It is months since our schedules have been aligned. Looking forward to the latest news from her and her tribe.
We took a drive to the lovely town of Petworth recently, as nearby is a place to buy sofas. It was quite an experience. Finding the shape and size was one thing, but when it came to fabric, we were flummoxed. There is a room dedicated to the most incredible range of furnishing fabric. It was as lovely as it was daunting. Thankfully the patient Julia guided us through the process of choosing. I love fabric and was once sewed my own clothes. Over the years I have become less confident about colour however, so it was interesting that I went with a very traditional notion of what I wanted and have come away with something very, very different. The WC and I do agree on most things and we are keen to see the finished items.
The town of Petworth is worth a visit. It is a bit of a maze but has great original shops, (did not see ONE typical, ubiquitous high street shop). Petworth House is nearby, that’s one for when Eve arrives.
We may time it for when this wisteria is in bloom…It must be breathtaking.
Evidence of spring was tucked into this little corner. Uplifting to say the least.
The lovely weather has been about and at the weekend, before yet another night shift we pottered and got lots of jobs done. The pets were happy to be outside with us and this is Moss, on a table in the sun. He looks calm and thoughtful, but seconds later he was ambushing an oblivious Juno as she trotted past!
As promised, the skylights, doing their thing with sunlight and blue skies. The rest of the room and the ratty bits around the windows are a WIP…Just loving lying below these at night. In any weather. Having said that there are gale force winds today and the gulls are being tossed around like confetti.
I have continued to Konmari areas in the house. Not rigidly in the order it should be done according to the guru herself, but as and when I come across yet another box of 7 zillion photos of the girls as babies. They were continuously being shot by their late, doting grandfather, whose idea of a good photo, as evidenced by the current collection was loose, to say the least. Never have I seen more shots of cross, dirty babies, grey faced parents, piles of laundry, toys and books, all neatly filed in little albums! It has been such a laugh. Life in pictures, no photoshopping at all.
We are lurching towards the arrival of EVE, my mother, for her six month (oh my days) visit to the UK. I tell the WC we are not racing to have the house all done before her arrival, it is not possible. We are into month 15 of renovations and some of us are having trouble finding the bloody joy in it now. Adding a deadline is not healthy, someone may get hurt. (There are a lot of heavy tools lying around, I would hate for one to go flying…).
To be fair we do have another 6 weeks or so, but time does fly. Hence the little and often approach to making space.
The skylights have transformed the space upstairs. So much light and space. I feel closer to the elements as well. Hearing rain falling on the glass the other night was lovely. The waning moon has also shone down on us, and we can see stars, even here where there is light pollution. The mornings are still a bit dark to get a sense of what weather lies ahead for the day, and eventually we may even crave blinds to keep the sun out, but at present we are loving unadorned windows. And, no seagull has pooped on one yet!
At this point a photo might be a nice idea. It will have to be postponed however as I am sitting up in bed with a Lemsip, a box of tissues, a wastepaper basket to hand and a red and runny nose. A sight not for the squeamish…
I resent illness and am fed up that this is the second cold this season after a horrible cough. I hate being ill, hate taking time off work and feel guilt and as though I am letting folk down. Why do we have these feelings?
On the bitterest of frosty mornings a team arrived to put skylights in the bedrooms. It will be nice to have more natural light.
It is however a big job (it will take two days) and in preparation, Em and I moved a lot of stuff yesterday. Not only did we move it, we KONMARIed it. I have written in this blog many times about my issues with clutter and grand plans to rid myself of it. It has all fizzled and died within a few short hours. I bought the book a few years ago and got nowhere. Then, on Netflix I discovered the Konmari series. It all became clear. It is not a job for one morning….somehow it always seemed as though one should be able to tackle rubbish clutter in a few hours and then sit serenely with a green tea and glance through magazines….obs it didn’t work because I never buy mags and rarely drink green tea.
In some of her ‘cases’ people take up to SEVEN WEEKS to sort and cull and tidy. And you have to stick to the mesod (method) of sorting one category at a time. This was always my downfall. In a pile of clothes I might find a bag, a shoe and or a memo. Then I would pop off to find places for those items ending up in delays, confusion and tears before bedtime.
This time was different and it was good. Not all the clothes are done yet, but boy do I need little storage space now. The WC and I had actually been looking at buying more storage furniture earlier in the day…
When work started this morning I was proud to know that my knickers are all in a row, pjs are lined up and my socks are folded not balled. It was even tempting to show the workmen, but the WC felt that was a bit of overkill.
It is getting dark so the finished project will have to be shared in daylight as there ain’t much to see at night. Very excited. Very fortunate.
We are in Belgium with our dear friend, the one who drives like Lewis Hamilton. Outings in the car aside, there is something really soporific about being here. It is a though all tension has gone and we flop around, reading, knitting and relaxing. We have been to the local charity shops and have stocked up on chocolate for friends at home. We have done yoga in the living room and youngest is off for a run in the drizzle. I have downloaded a Jane Harper novel, The Force of Nature. I loved The Dry. A new pair of socks are on the needles. This time Praire Girl Designs’ lovely Zigzagular socks.
After NINE attempts, I have completed my first pair of socks. I bought the yarn in Sydney; Arne and Carlos‘s idiot proof sock yarn….both socks end up looking the same. They went with me to Estonia, Helsinki and East Sussex. I even proudly showed them off to two Norwegian knitters who were producing amazing patterned mittens on five needles…. for shame. They were kind about them though.
Below are only three of the many images I took on the sock crusade. (I use that word on purpose because they were all slashed and burned in the end…aka frogged).
I dithered over finishing them as I was convinced it would be too hard to do that sewing-in bind off. Thanks to an amazing series of videos by Jana at Purl Together (site under construction at present but she has many YouTube videos available) it was done in a jiffy. After posing with my feet on the sloped ceiling of our bedroom, it was time to admit that they are too big for me. Too loose. So they were gifted to the WC who wore them to work and gave them the big thumbs up……
Apart from him liking and wearing them, I am really happy that I have actually FINISHED something and hope to complete more of my dodgy WIPS in 2019. If not, then maybe frog them. The yarn could be used for something else.
Back to the knitting now as we wait for a friend to come and see us.
with strong wind to boot. It has been hard to get outdoors to exercise and doglet looks a tad chunky. Much of that can be attributed to her love of cat food leftovers. High in fat, it is a bit like chocolate to us humans….we watch them both like hawks when it is meal time, but I have caught Juno growling softly near Moss’s bowl when he is eating. He in return, seems to be like that annoying sibling that chews very, very slowly because he knows that no one can leave the table until everyone has finished….Em says it is like having two toddlers in the house much of the time. Juno wants at his plate so he drags it out.
We are off to Estonia later this week. A trip planned long ago and with, it now seems, not much skill. Convinced we were heading for deep snow and dog sledding, we have discovered that there is as yet, none of the white stuff. Yikes. It is however very cold. We have consoled ourselves with the promise of a day trip to Helsinki and a spa treatment or two. (I have of course got a long list of yarny places to visit and hope to learn about their beautiful knitting patterns).